Feature Article - July/August 2013

Motivation On the Go

Employ Mobile Tools to Boost Your Success

By Rick Dandes

As the world becomes significantly more interconnected, mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets—portable tools that connect to the Internet—are rapidly changing the way people live. More importantly for organizations, however, is that they are playing an ever-increasing role in changing the way people work and communicate.

"While the Internet and mobile telecommunications technologies increasingly facilitate virtual work," explained Michelle M. Smith, vice president, business development, O. C. Tanner, Salt Lake City, Utah, "employers also find themselves faced with the choice of the limited scope of talent that is at, or is willing to work at a certain location, and the much broader scope of talent that can be accessed if employees are permitted to work virtually."

Even in challenging economic times, with many people seeking work, employers often prefer to access the best talent possible, and may be willing to allow new hires to work remotely if that's what it takes to hire them. An organization that loses, or fails to hire, an employee because of the job's location runs the risk that the employee will go to work for a competitor, and that's not a risk many employers can afford to take.

Most organizations already understand the advantages and benefits of wireless data solutions in the enterprise: namely, to take advantage of cost savings (rent, furniture and equipment, commuting expenses, real estate costs, etc.); to reduce the carbon footprint—"going green"; and to attract and retain the top talent necessary to remain competitive, noted Richard Blabolil, president, Marketing Innovators International Inc., Rosemont, Ill.

That notion is supported by research by the International Data Corporation. The use of mobile devices for business in recent years has exploded exponentially, and will only accelerate in the near future, IDC revealed in a recent report. In the last quarter of 2010, sales of smartphones outpaced those of PCs for the first time, according to the IDC. They also estimate that the mobile workforce exceeded 1 billion people in 2011. And by 2014, more smart devices could be used to access the Internet than traditional computers.

This transition to an increasingly mobile world is sure to create new players and new opportunities for a variety of industries.

"Our personal lives are connected instantly and continuously to those around us," said Blabolil. "In our personal life, mobile fills in the gaps between our face-to-face interactions with our families and closest friends; bridges the distance between relationships separated by geography; and links us to others who are on the periphery of our day-to-day life. It's a structure that fits rather nicely as determined by each one of us individually."

The corporate world is now influenced by these same mobile tools, Blabolil continued. Companies, however, have less "control" over how and when mobile is used to connect with others. So, corporations are looking to leverage and direct these tools. Hence, although the tools available to business are expanding rapidly, the key isn't the hardware or software—it is more about how to use them effectively and make work "personal" while achieving results.

Generally speaking, mobile has also provided businesses with the perfect vehicle for real-time and just-in-time communication, added Thomas Niedbalski, senior vice president of business development, Transaction Wireless, San Diego. "And that includes general information, marketing, promotions, reward notification, reward delivery, balance inquiry and reward tracking."

Mobile is a powerful technology for businesses that are in a competitive space and are fighting for the consumer wallet, Niedbalski said. It is also a powerful tool for businesses to incent, motivate and engage with their employees—both local and remote. Employees are not necessarily motivated by cash, but rather engagement with their companies. Employees want to feel engaged and valued by their companies. Simple contests, rewards and recognition programs help drive this behavior. Mobile again is the perfect vehicle to administer, track and disseminate information about your company's incentive programs. Motivation, engagement and improved performance will come from being "present" in the meeting or interaction—the notion that you are there even when you are not. Mobile technology can set up a person's presence in a meeting or involvement with a team, but it is still up to the individual to be truly present and contributing which drives trust and motivation in a world of autonomy.